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Changes in sexual function of women with breast cancer

Changes in sexual function of women with breast cancer

Introduction: In 2012, the breast cancer estimate worldwide stood at 1.67 million new cases, these accounting for 25% of all types of cancer diagnosed in women. For 2014, 57,120 new cases are expected, with a risk estimated at 56.1 cases for every 100,000 women. Sexual dysfunction commonly arises in these women following diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. 

Objective: To evaluate the sexual function of the women with breast cancer diagnosis.

Methods: Twenty women with diagnosis of breast cancer were selected in the Center of reference and specialization in sexology at the Pérola Byington Hospital (CRESEX), São Paulo, Brazil. The sample was racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse. Sexuality and interpersonal relations were evaluated by a questionnaire used in the clinical practice. The authors also evaluated interpersonal relations focusing on sexual function at the time of diagnosis and a year after the initial treatment for cancer. The selected profiles are women between the age 20 and 55, who are married, divorced or in a union or stable relationship and those referred for sexual complaints.

Results: The analyzed results showed that 75% of women have complaints about the sexual life after the breast cancer diagnosis. Beyond the physical and aesthetic consequences of the treatments, the sexual dysfunctions are generally caused by the deep psychological upheaval induced by the disease affecting a strongly invested female body.

Conclusion: The social physic and psychological impact from breast cancer in those women life, reinforces the importance of better look about this question. The self-image is directly related to sexual complaints and the sexology service has a wide area of expertise, where workgroups and individual approaches decreased the numbers of sexual complaints. Future interventions to address the body image and sexual life of breast cancer survivors should be considered using positive approaches that prevent disengaged avoidance or self-blame and to promote coping efforts intended to deal with marital stress.

Areas of Interest / Categories: Sexual Function

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